Masters

Fleetwood in it to win it in 3rd Masters appearance

2019-04-08 22:32
Tommy Fleetwood
Tommy Fleetwood (Getty Images)

Augusta - England's Tommy Fleetwood, heading into his third Masters appearance, isn't at Augusta National to make up the numbers at the first major golf championship of the season.

"I'm always going to play to win," Fleetwood said Monday as he prepared for Thursday's start of play. "I'm never going to look back on my career and say, 'Oh, I finished third at The Players, that was a good week' or 'Oh, I finished top five at the Masters.'

"That's not something to be that proud of."

Fleetwood missed the cut in his first trip to Augusta in 2017 and finished tied for 17th last year -- when he played the first two rounds alongside Tiger Woods as the US superstar made his Masters return after a two-year absence.

The 28-year-old from Southport knows his total of six Masters rounds can't compare with the kind of experience four-time champion Woods or former winner Fred Couples, but he feels comfortable on the course and with the hoopla that surrounds the first major of the season.

"It's not just another week on tour, but you try and do everything the same," he said.

"The golf course itself needs a bit more preparation than usual, anyway. There's so many different things to consider. There's so many options here and there, and particularly hitting into greens, chipping around the greens and putting -- I don't think you can ever learn enough."

Fleetwood showed he can find his way around Augusta with a third-round 66 last year, although he followed that with a final-round 74.

Two months later he closed the US Open with a record-equalling 63 at a brutal Shinnecock Hills, and he was in contention at the Open championship before a final-round 73 dropped him into a share of 12th.

He was a star of Europe's Ryder Cup triumph last September, where he and Francesco Molinari teamed to make history as the first European pairing to rack up four wins in four matches.

Although he has yet to win this season Fleetwood is encouraged by a tie for third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational -- three shots behind champion Molinari -- and a tie for fifth at the Players Championship, where he played in the final group on Sunday but finished three behind winner Rory McIlroy.

"The Arnold Palmer in particular I built a lot of confidence that week and then the following week was as confident as I have felt on a golf course," Fleetwood said.

"It's strange when you have the two best finishes of the year and you're disappointed in both of them because I really felt like I had good chances in both and I didn’t win either.

"But overall, everything's in really good shape."

Read more on:    pga tour  |  masters  |  golf

 

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